Winning vs. Losing Energy Policy
“As the Democrats become more committed to, and defined by, a green agenda, and as they become dependent on money from high-tech venture capitalists and their lobbyists, it becomes harder to describe them as a party for the little guy — or liberalism as a philosophy of distributive justice.”
- Charles Lane, “Liberals Green-Energy Contradictions,” The Washington Post, October 15, 2012.
Governor Mitt Romney strongly supports North American energy independence as the foundation of renewed U.S. employment and prosperity. There is much needed to fill-in the blanks, but the challenger’s guiding philosophy promises real reform. Free-marketeers, playing defense for the last four years, and during a lot of the Bush Administration too, actually have a chance to play offense should Romney prevail.
Obama’s efforts are so counterproductive that old-school textbooks in Government and in Economics are under pressure to add a new term along side “market failure”–government failure. Long live James Buchanan and the Public Choice School of Economics.
Romney/Ryan have some serious turnaround work to do. Careful analysis and due diligence brought Romney and Bain Capital notable winners like AMC Entertainment, Burger King, Burlington Coat Factory, Domino’s Pizza, Dunkin’ Donuts and Staples.
Compare that to Obama, whose focus on ideology, political calculation, cronyism, and campaign contributors has produced losers and scandals like Abound Solar, Crescent Dunes, Ener1, Fisker, Mountain Plaza, Solyndra, Tesla, and, most recently, battery-maker A123 Systems. And just think of the all the other “green” projects that would collapse if their taxpayer subsidies were cut off.
Fittingly, U.S. gasoline prices are double what they were the day Obama took office. And consider these facts: Some 25 million Americans are without full-time jobs – leaving 23% of the workforce unemployed, involuntarily working part-time or at jobs where they are overqualified, making far less money than they did previously, or no longer looking for a job. Our 64% “labor participation rate” is at a 30-year low.
There are still 4.5 million fewer jobs than in 2007, even though our population has grown; the hourly wage of college-educated Americans age 23 to 29 fell 4.7% between 2007 and 2011; median household income plummeted $3,040 since the recession (supposedly, officially) ended in June 2009; and a record 45 million Americans are on food stamps.
Energy in an Unstable World
Meanwhile, the ever-unstable Middle East is even more unstable. Terrorists murdered our ambassador to Libya. A pitiful anti-Islamic video excused riots in Egypt where a Muslim Brotherhood leader is now president. More than 33,000 have died in a nasty Syrian civil war. Internecine conflicts continue in Iraq and elsewhere.
The seemingly perpetual Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains poised to intensify and spread. And the Taliban and Al Qaeda continue to build power and launch vicious attacks, such as gunning down the US embassy’s Yemeni security chief in Sana’a. How to respond? Shift market share of oil away from political centers to free-market ones to benefit U.S. and world consumers.
Outside the Middle East, the Putin government is using energy to pressure and blackmail European nations dependent on Russian oil and gas, while orchestrating anti-fracking campaigns to keep EU countries from tapping their abundant shale gas supplies. Politics, events and human rights violations raise further questions about Russia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Nigeria and Sudan. And many of these countries are among our most important oil suppliers – because we refuse to develop our own deposits.
Since oil is sold in a world market, producing more in the United States means we could import less from abroad, freeing up more oil for other nations, and pushing prices down. Exporting U.S. natural gas and drilling, fracking and production expertise would make other nations less dependent on the Middle East and Russia, bring natural gas prices down, turbo-charge economies, and encourage African countries to use gas to generate electricity, rather than “flaring” it as an unwanted byproduct of oil production.
Romney is calling for more oil and natural gas production here in the United States; changes to excessive and counterproductive federal regulations that raise energy costs and kill jobs; and increased use of friendly Canadian oil to serve America’s consumers. He knows this will help insulate us against disruptions in Middle East oil supplies, reduce the flow of American dollars to totalitarian human rights violators, create American jobs, increase tax revenues, and jumpstart our sluggish economy.
President Obama, by contrast, continues to ignore reality and embrace policies based on hope, green dreams, and a determination to “fundamentally transform” America’s economy, society and system of government.
Obama continues to waste billions of taxpayer dollars to subsidize unreliable, unaffordable, inefficient, insufficient energy forms that are at best decades from competing in the free market– even as 80% of Department of Energy grants and loans went to companies owned or controlled by Obama contributors; DOE restructured its $465 million loan to Tesla, to make sure the electric-car company doesn’t run out of cash right before the election; and President Obama says malnourished, energy-deprived Africans should avoid fossil fuels and rely instead on wind, solar and biofuel power.
Many recipients of involuntary taxpayer largesse are donors to Obama and Democrat re-election campaigns; have electoral clout in crucial swing states, where corn growers and others benefit from ethanol, wind and solar schemes; or provide crucial propaganda and campaign services via government employee and labor unions and tax-exempt radical environmentalist organizations.
While Obama turns his back on the reliable fossil fuels that power America’s economic engine, he denounces and demonizes companies that produce this energy, pay billions of dollars in taxes and support millions of American jobs. He singles out America’s oil and natural gas sector for discriminatory tax increases and excessive regulation, and makes more and more federal lands and waters off limits to responsible oil and gas production.
Environmental activists and the Obama Administration express outrage about subsidies for generating electricity, which amount to $0.25-$0.44 (25-44 cents) per megawatt-hour for coal and natural gas and $1.59 per MWH for nuclear. But they are eerily silent about subsidies for wind ($23.37 per MWH) and solar electricity ($24.34 per MWH).
They express equal outrage about importing petroleum from Canada’s oil sands via the Keystone Pipeline – but are silent about imports of thick, gooey crude from Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. They brag about increasing U.S. oil and gas production (on private lands) but insist that there be little or no drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Rocky Mountains or even National Petroleum Reserve Alaska, which Congress set aside decades ago specifically to safeguard our national security by increasing exploration in areas with the best potential for oil and gas.
Lisa Jackson’s Environmental Protection Agency is imposing draconian restrictions on power plants and other CO2 sources, as another way of “skinning the cat” and hyper-regulating coal out of the US energy picture, after Congress rejected cap-tax-and-trade legislation. Meantime, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) has introduced the Managed Carbon Price Act, which analysts say will impose regressive taxes that will rise to $5.20 per gallon of gasoline by 2024 and equally hefty surcharges on other hydrocarbon use.
The impact on transportation, shipping, commuting, manufacturing, families and jobs is sad to contemplate. And for what? Britain’s Meteorological Office just released data showing that the world has not warmed in the last 16 years. (More precisely, average global temperatures in this period have risen an statistically insignificant 0.03 degrees C per decade.) Planet-helping global lukewarming anyone?
Meanwhile, the rest of the world marches on with an energy policy that makes US-side CO2 policy largely irrelevant when it comes to emissions and atmospheric concentrations.
Germany, Italy and Japan plan to phase out nuclear power, thereby increasing their use of natural gas and coal for electricity – while China and India build 900 new coal-fired power plants to electrify their growing economies. All will pump tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – dwarfing any reductions the USA might achieve by closing more power plants and further shackling our economy.
The Administration’s actions have been arrogant, irresponsible and autocratic. Win or lose in November, the White House, EPA, DOE and Interior Department will impose boxcars of punitive new regulations that have been put on hold until November 7. Philosophy matters, and Obama’s is Malthusian.
We don’t need to “fundamentally transform” America’s economy, society and free enterprise system. We need to fundamentally transform the anti-hydrocarbon culture that pervades the Congress, White House, Executive Branch and radical environmental groups that have brought us to where we are today.
We don’t need to “fundamentally transform” America’s economy and thus abandon the American dream. We need to intellectually and politically defeat the anti-hydrocarbon culture that currently pervades the Congress, White House, Executive Branch and radical environmental groups. They constitute a tiny minority of America and are just now being exposed for having an anti-industrial, anti-progress mentality.
It’s ours to win with superior theory and raw facts.